Ferdinand Alte

Photosynthesis is a biochemical process that exploits the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into organic compounds. Plants contain special organelles named chloroplasts which harbour the actual site of photosynthesis: membrane stacks called thylakoids. Ferredoxin:NADP(H) Oxidoreductase (FNR) is a key enzyme of photosynthetic electron transport required for the generation of reduction equivalents. Two proteins are involved in membrane-anchoring of FNR by specific interaction via a conserved Ser/Pro-rich motif: Tic62 and Trol. The crystal structure of a ternary complex consisting of two molecules FNR and a synthetic peptide representing the FNR-binding motif from Tic62 was determined at 1.7 Å resolution (Alte et al., 2010). The peptide, which forms a poly-proline type II helix, induces self-assembly of the two FNR monomers into a back-to-back dimer by substantially increasing the contact area. Since binding occurs opposite to the FNR active sites, its activity is not affected by the interaction. The affinity of FNR to the binding motif is strongly increased under acidic conditions. The pH of the chloroplast stroma changes dependent on the light conditions from neutral to slightly acidic in complete darkness or to alkaline at saturating light conditions. Recruiting of FNR to the thylakoids could therefore represent a regulatory mechanism to adapt FNR availability/activity to photosynthetic electron flow.


Stingele J., Bellelli R., Alte F., Hewitt G., Sarek G., Maslen S. L., Tsutakawa S. E., Borg A., Kjaer S., Tainer J. A., Skehel J. M., Groll M., Boulton S. J.
Mechanism and Regulation of DNA-Protein Crosslink Repair by the DNA-dependent Metalloprotease SPRTN
Mol. Cell, 2016, 64, 688–703, PDF

Haslbeck V., Drazic A., Eckl J. M., Alte F., Helmuth M., Popowicz G., Schmidt W., Braun F., Weiwad M., Fischer G., Gemmecker G., Sattler M., Striggow F., Groll M. Richter K.
Selective activators of protein phosphatase 5 target the autoinhibitory mechanism
Biosci. Rep., 2015, 35, 1–11

Nodwell M. B., Koch M. F., Alte F., Schneider S., Sieber S. A.
A sub-family of ribokinases utilizes a hemithioacetal for pyridoxal phosphate salvage
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014, 136, 4992−9

Gersch M., Kolb R., Alte F., Groll M., Sieber S. A.
Disruption of Oligomerization and Dehydroalanine Formation as Mechanisms for ClpP Protease Inhibition
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014, 136, 1360−6, PDF

Zeiler E., List A., Alte F., Gersch M., Wachtel R., Poreba M., Drag M., Groll M., Sieber S. A.
Structural and functional insights into caseinolytic proteases reveal an unprecedented regulation principle of their catalytic triad
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2013, 110, 11302-7, PDF

Bepperling A., Alte F., Kriehuber T., Braun N., Weinkauf S., Groll M., Haslbeck M., Buchner J.
Alternative bacterial two-component small heat shock protein systems
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2012, 109, 20407-12, PDF

Alte F., Stengel A., Philipp Benz J. P., Petersen E., Soll J., Groll M., Bölter B.
Ferredoxin:NADPH oxidoreductase is recruited to thylakoids by binding to a polyproline type II helix in a pH-dependent manner
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2010, 107, 19260-5, PDF